Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Riverton residents in rage over ruined road

Published:Monday | December 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The road leading to the Riverton disposal site is in a deplorable condition and in need of repairs.
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Residents of the Riverton City community are complaining that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has left their community's main road in a terrible and health-threatening condition.

One resident, who gave his name as Sealah, said, "Three days after the JDF fix dis, a dis happen."

He was pointing to the visibly unfinished state of the entire road leading up to the Riverton City disposal site.

"Look pon di road weh di soldier dem come scrape off. Mi cyaa believe seh a di road dis weh di man dem scrape off."

Sealah said the main problem plaguing the community is dust, caused by the laying of marl during the repair project conducted by the JDF.

Sealah acknowledged that before the work was done to level the road, residents faced a bit of a dust nuisance, but argued that it was further compounded following the apparent abandonment of the project.

"Dem come drop marl pon di road and after them gone, a lone dust a kill wi, puppa. Di marl dem weh di man dem spread all bout pon di road, and wen every truck a lick 90(mph) a go up deh suh, dust a kill wi."

He added: "Everybody furniture inna dem house white, because of the marl. Di man dem come flatten di road, put marl pon di road and gone lef di road. A crazy dust."

The road was very muddy when The Gleaner arrived, but Sealah said it was nothing compared to when the wet conditions disappear.

"When this dry, you cyaa wear dust mask because dust mask cyaa save yuh, mi a tell you dat. You si if wi move go Cherry Garden or one a dem place deh, Stony Hill go live, we a go sick fi one month. We a go sick because we not used to the fresh air," Sealah exclaimed.

NSWMA in charge

When The Gleaner contacted Major Basil Jarrett of the JDF, he stated that the project was not a JDF project and that the soldiers were merely assisting the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).

"The NSWMA had actually reached out to us asking for assistance. So it really was an NSWMA project, but we provide the equipment for them to use to pave the road; they specifically requested a grader, so we provided the grader and the operator. So you would really have to talk to the NSWMA," Jarrett said.

He further stated: "Now, because soldiers are so distinctive wherever they go, people see that and they automatically think that it's our project and that we are responsible. In terms of the scope of that project, the decision to use whatever material or how to carry out the project was an NSWMA initiative."

NSWMA Community Relations Manager Shauna Guthrie told The Gleaner that on June 3, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, partnering with the Mexican government, signed an agreement to complete the project.

"The Mexican government signed a contract, and a couple weeks ago, they had a ceremony there so they are in the process of fixing it by, I think, next year,'' Guthrie explained.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com